Ian Dougherty


Hello. I am a Dunedin-based historian but tend to travel to where the work takes me. I have an MA in history from Otago University and a Diploma in Journalism from Canterbury University. I am the author of more than 30 non-fiction books on New Zealand history, biography, culture and society. I am always looking for interesting new projects, large and small, on which to work.

Published Books:

Out of My Mind: Living With Manic Depression, Tandem Press, Auckland, 1994 (co-written with Ben Benjamin, upon whose experiences the book is based); revised ebook edition published as Out of My Mind: Living With Bipolar, Together With a Cure For Depression Without Drugs, The Fortesque Trust, Auckland, 2011.

Arawata Bill: The Story of Legendary Gold Prospector William James O’Leary, Exisle Publishing, Auckland, 1996; second revised edition 2000; third revised edition 2012; ebook edition 2012.

Ham Shacks, Brass Pounders and Rag Chewers: A History of Amateur Radio in New Zealand, New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters/Historical Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1997.

Heart of Gold: The People and Places of Otago, Exisle Publishing, Auckland, 1998.

For Your Information: A History of Citizens Advice Bureaux in New Zealand, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 1998.

Bricklayers and Mortarboards: A History of New Zealand Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology, Dunmore Press/Historical Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs, Palmerston North, 1999.

Wellington Polytechnic 1962-1999: A History, Dunmore Press/ History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Palmerston North, 2001.

Central Institute of Technology 1960-2001: A Brief History, Central Institute of Technology, Upper Hutt, 2001.

For Practical Purposes: A History of Hutt Valley Polytechnic and its Predecessors 1904-2001, Wellington Institute of Technology, Petone, 2004.

Southern Sting: The Team That Inspired a Region, Exisle Publishing, Auckland, 2004.

Books and Boots: The Story of New Zealand Publisher, Writer and Long Distance Walker Alfred Hamish Reed, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, 2005.

Continuing Education of Quality: A History of Otago Polytechnic and its Predecessors 1870-2006, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, 2006; Continuing Education of Quality: A 50th Anniversary History of Otago Polytechnic 1966-2016 and of its Predecessors From 1870, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, 2016.

Making a Difference: A Centennial History of Presbyterian Support Otago 1906-2006, Presbyterian Support Otago, Dunedin, 2006 (co-written with Jane Thomson).

New Zealand’s Legendary Lost Ruby Mine: A Story of Skullduggery and Death, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2006; ebook edition 2011.

The Steepest Street in the World: Baldwin Street, Dunedin, New Zealand, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2006; revised edition, 2023.

A Centennial History of the Mosgiel Volunteer Fire Brigade 1906-2006, Mosgiel Volunteer Fire Brigade, Mosgiel, 2007 (co-written with Don Bates).

Vauxhall Gardens: Dunedin’s Notorious Victorian Pleasure Gardens, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2007; ebook edition 2013.

The Making of the French Pass Road in the Marlborough Sounds, No Ordinary Life/Downer EDI Works, Auckland, 2008.

As Others See Us: Historic Dunedin Through Visitors’ Eyes, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2009; ebook edition 2011.

High Street Shopping and High Country Farming: A History of Wardell and Anderson Families in Otago, Mahana Trust, Dunedin, 2009.

Without Compromise: A Brief History of the New Zealand Women’s Christian Temperance Union, New Zealand Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Auckland, 2013; revised edition 2022.

By Students For Students: A History of the Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association 1964-2014, Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association, Dunedin, 2014.

The People’s University: A Centennial History of the Canterbury Workers’ Educational Association 1915-2015, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, 2015.

More Than Just a Place of Work: A History of Dunedin’s Hillside Railway Workshops, New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, Wellington, 2015.

Dunedin: Founding a New World City, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2017.

Pulpit Radical: The Story of New Zealand Social Campaigner Rutherford Waddell, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2018.

A Good Joke: The Life and Crimes of Notorious New Zealand Art Forger Karl Sim, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2019.

Southern Spirit: The People and Places of Southland, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2020.

Shooting Folly as it Flies: The Life and Lines of New Zealand’s First Political Cartoonist James Brown, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2022.

Wangaloa: A History of the South Otago Coastal District, Trustees of the Wangaloa Athenaeum, Wangaloa, 2022.

The Johnsons of Wangaloa: The History of a Pioneering South Otago Farming Family, Peter Johnson, Milton, 2023.


  • Archiving
  • Compiling bibliographies
  • Editing
  • Indexing
  • Oral history
  • Photographic research
  • Proof-reading
  • Publication production
  • Publicity
  • Research
  • Writing


  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Aviation
  • Biography
  • Business
  • Childhood
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Conservation
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Exploration
  • Family
  • Food
  • Gardens
  • Genealogy
  • Government administration
  • Health and medical
  • Heritage
  • Housing
  • Immigration
  • Industrial
  • Institutional
  • Labour
  • Local
  • Maritime
  • Material culture
  • Medical and health
  • Migration
  • Mining
  • Museums
  • Performing arts
  • Politics
  • Railways
  • Regional
  • Religion
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Transport
  • Urban and suburban
  • Visual arts
  • Welfare